Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake Bars

I have found that working with chocolate without sugar and much fat really is quite a challenge because it is hard to get the flavor to be strong without those components. If you have ever wondered why coffee and cinnamon are in a lot of recipes with chocolate, it is because they enhance the intensity of the chocolate flavor without really coming across strongly as independent flavors. While you can skip the coffee in these recipes, it will make for a more anemic tasting result. Even if you hate coffee, it's good to use them in baking chocolate sweets in many cases.

I wanted to make a chocolate baked oatmeal, but I thought it might work better if it were more "cake-like" and less crumbly than my usual baked oatmeal. The result was a delicate, surprisingly light and soft cake bar which was (still) a bit crumbly, but generally held together well. I wouldn't recommend eating it when you're wearing a white shirt.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake Bars (sugar-free, reduced fat, whole grain):
1 medium egg
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp. espresso or very strong coffee
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Splenda granular
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (regular, not quick cooking), divided into half
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F./175 degrees C.
  2. Spray a 11" x 7"  pan with cooking spray (I used metal non-stick).
  3. Whisk the egg, milk, oil, applesauce, coffee, and vanilla until smoothly blended. 
  4. Add the vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and Splenda and whisk well. 
  5. Put 3/4 cup of oatmeal into a small bowl food processor and process until ground as finely as possible. 
  6. Add the ground oats, remaining 3/4 cup of whole oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and baking powder to the mixture and stir until evenly mixed.
  7. Spread the mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Do not overbake! A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature and cut into squares.
Nutrition information courtesy of the SparkRecipes calculator:

16 servings:


  1. These look fantastic. In fact, they look a bit like a kind of cake brownie.

    I am really going to have to try this one, I just need to find a source of espresso. Of course, I could just make a pot of coffee. Dad tells me my coffee is "lethal" and doesn't let me near his coffee pot any more.

  2. I have to warn you that, while they look like a brownie, they are super light (like cake) rather than dense and fudgey. They are tasty, mind you, but the texture is light.

    They are great with a peanut butter topping that I three together (3 tbsp. peanut putter, 1 tbsp. Splenda, 4 or so tbsp. milk whisked together). Essentially, it's thinned and sweetened peanut butter. It has to be kept in the refrigerator though because of the milk, but it works well on this!

  3. Sorry I'm so late.... the holidays have me scurrying around... Like Sharon said.. they look like super, uber, delish brownies... I don't have splenda, so I think I'll use sugar... I LOVE oatmeal... heck, I might opt out of the sugar and just let the applesauce sweetener it for breakfast bars?

    I'm a good girl during the week... I indulge on the weekends... this is nice, because I am getting bored with my diet bars-- balance cup.... speaking of coffee... I have it once a week now... I go for tea for my caffeine fix and down oolong cha to curb any fats I eat.. oh what was I saying.. yeah... coffee, I had some from McDonalds... so full of flavor, so I love my coffee, I will be adding it to these bars..

    Might not be able to do it this week, but next I hope.. These sound super yummy!

  4. Thanks for commenting, girl!

    I think that you would have to add more sweetener to them (the applesauce alone wouldn't quite do it - the chocolate would come out flat tasting as it needs sweetness to carry it). The applesauce does add some sweetness, but I don't think it'd be enough.

    Recently, I've tried Korean corn tea, which is supposed to help with blood sugar stability and be great for your skin. It tastes a little like mugi cha, but has a real popcorn vibe going on (which is really cool).

    I am both good and bad all of the time - I tend to eat these sugarless foods for breakfast and to snack on very small portions of the real thing everyday. I drink tremendous amounts of all kinds of tea because I get bored pretty quickly!